Successful recording in the COVID era

Chris Dickey.At the onset of the pandemic, performers around the world had to come to terms with what safe music making would look like for the foreseeable future. Many instrumentalists hoping to perform had to play solo or utilize music with electronics to accompany them.

“When I think of performing, I immediately envision playing with other musicians in the same space. In the pandemic, this wasn’t possible,” WSU tuba professor Chris Dickey said.

Dickey overcame numerous challenges to successfully record and release their fourth solo album, titled “Panorama,” under the WSU Recordings label.

“In my career, I have rarely performed unaccompanied music or music with electronics. Recording this project all by myself forced me out of my comfort zone. In the summer of 2020, I made myself a promise that I would keep preparing music at a high level just as I was expecting my students to do,” Dickey said.

Cover artwork for Chris Dickey's album "Panorama."

“Panorama” features several premiere recordings of works for solo tuba or tuba with electronics, all of which are welcome additions to recital programs. The album was recorded in the WSU Recording Studio by recording engineer David Bjur. School of Music colleagues Danh Pham and Martin King assisted in the production of the work.

“I could play my tuba safely sealed away in the recording part of the studio while the engineer was stationed in the other room,” Dickey recalls.

The editing process was later completed with a combination of remote and in-person sessions utilizing the technology housed in the WSU Recording Studio.

Next fall, Dickey will travel as a guest artist to universities in the southeastern United States to play music from the album along with other new pieces commissioned during the pandemic. Their tour will be funded by the New Faculty Seed Grant program.

“Panorama” is available on many streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify. Samples of each track can be found online.

The album was recorded and produced while adhering to WSU’s COVID-19 mitigation protocol.

Funding for the project was generously provided by the Liana K. Sandin Grants-in-Aid Award from the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation.

Originally posted at WSU Insider